I remember asking a seminary friend once, “So, where are all the prophets these day?” It sounds like a pretty dopey question now. But his almost instantaneous answer still makes me chuckle with a bit of chagrin. “So, where are all the prophets these day?” My friend: “In mental hospitals mostly.”
Of course, that’s a bit of an exaggeration — but one that gets at an important truth about the modern worldview and the world of the prophetic. I think in some ways, our modern culture works from this starting point: those who claim to hear the voice of God should be considered mentally unbalanced until proven otherwise. In the closed universe of Western modernism, there is no place of the supernatural, including voices of a supernatural origin.
Sadly, much of Western Christianity has sold its heritage of an open universe in which God moves about freely for the pottage of Enlightenment modernism’s closed universe within which God neither moves nor speaks. For Christians who try to hold onto some confidence in the Bible as the word of God, the worldview of our modernist culture creates for us an uncomfortable dissonance. We try to cling to some notion that God “leads” us or touches our hearts or prods us. But, honestly, these weasely half-way measures are hardly honest, much less courageous. It’s just that we don’t want to look intellectually out of step with our modern neighbors.
Unfortunately, efforts to relegate the voice of God to the ancient past render us deaf to the voice of God in the present, turn our “faith” into a mere set of ideas and concepts, and converts “church” into a synonym of “museum.” Hearing the voice of God is NOT a sign of mental instability. It is meant to be a normal part of the Christian life.
Go look at this story about a couple of guys who heard Jesus speaking to them: Luke 24 :28-35.
Then, have a listen as I explore the passage in a post-Easter sermon: Burning Hearts–Hearing Jesus.